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Breaking: FCT minister says “demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols” – ban #EndSARS #EndSWAT protests in Abuja

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello prohibits street protest and this is in reaction to the nationwide Endsars protest embarked on by Nigerians.

Thousands of Nigerians marched in Abuja, Lagos and other cities to demand an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, a police unit accused of extrajudicial killings and abuses.

In a statement issued Thursday and made available to NewsWireNGR, the FCT Security committee is prohibiting street demonstrations, accusing protesters of flouting COVID-19 guidelines.

The statement signed by, Mr Anthony Ogunleye, the Chief Press Secretary to the minister reads in party, “While the Committee recognizes the rights of citizens as regards freedom of association and movement as enshrined in the constitution, it has observed that the unruly conduct of the crowd and manner of demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols which were put in place to safeguard the lives of citizens”.

According to the minister, “these violations endanger the lives of not just the demonstrators, but also other citizens going about their legitimate concerns”.

Consequently, he said “the Committee directs that due to the dangers posed by COVID-19, all street demonstrations, protests and processions will not be allowed anywhere within the FCT”.

Read the complete statement below.

“The FCT Security Committee met for its routine meeting on Tuesday October 13, 2020, to review the security situation in the Federal Capital Territory with a view to addressing identified challenges”.

The meeting which was chaired by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello had in attendance, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, heads of the various security agencies and military formations in the FCT, senior members of staff of the FCTA, representatives of religious and traditional institutions as well as Area Council Chairmen.

After extensive deliberations, the Committee came up with the following resolutions:

i. The Committee noted with satisfaction the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Inspector-General of Police to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad {SARS} as well as other reforms aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Nigerian police.

ii. It also noted that in response to the directive of the President and the yearnings of the Nigerian people, the Inspector General of Police has dissolved the SARS across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed.

iii. However, the Committee noted with concern that despite the pronouncement by the Inspector General of Police scrapping the FSARS, the #ENDSARS protests continued in parts of the Territory. The protesters caused inconveniences to law abiding citizens.

iv. While the Committee recognizes the rights of citizens as regards freedom of association and movement as enshrined in the constitution, it has observed that the unruly conduct of the crowd and manner of demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols which were put in place to safeguard the lives of citizens.

v. These violations endanger the lives of not just the demonstrators, but also other citizens going about their legitimate concerns.

vi. For the avoidance of doubt, the COVID-19 guidelines regulating public gatherings recommend physical distancing, temperature checks, the use of facial coverings, amongst others.

vii. Clearly all these guidelines were flouted by the protesters.

viii. Consequently, the Committee directs that due to the dangers posed by COVID-19, all street demonstrations, protests and processions will not be allowed anywhere within the FCT.

ix. The Committee also noted the progress being made in the fight against robberies in illegal and unregistered, commercial motor vehicles known as “one chance” and is committed to the introduction of innovative measures that will ensure the safety of commuters.

x. It however advises commuters to continue to exercise caution and remain vigilant while boarding commercial vehicles.

xi. With the advent of the “Ember” months, the Committee reiterates its commitment to ensuring the safety of road users across the FCT in accordance with existing guidelines by relevant agencies.

xii. It however seeks the cooperation of residents to obey all extant traffic rules and regulations while travelling during this period.

xiii. The Committee also noted with satisfaction the successful re-opening of schools after the forced closure due to COVID-19. It however calls on parents, students and school authorities to continue to comply with the extant COVID-19 safety protocols.

xiv. The Security Committee reiterated the commitment of the FCT Administration to ensure that all residents are safe, secure and able to go about their lawful businesses without fear of intimidation or harassment.

ANTHONY OGUNLEYE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

15/10/2020

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